Tag Archives: Calling

Worth the Investment

Read 1 John 3:1-3

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

img_cheerleadingLast summer my oldest daughter began showing interest in cheerleading and started to convey to us (her mom and I) that she wanted to take gymnastics in order to get prepared for cheerleading. At first we were both hesitant because we were afraid that this was going to be just some new “phase” that she would grow bored with over time. After all, she had come to us on numerous occasions and told us she wanted to do this or that, only to find out later that, after investing money in what she wanted to do, that she no longer wanted to do it.

There came a point where I got frustrated, mostly because of the money that these whimsical pursuits were costing us. I sat her down and tried to reason with her regarding her discovering what she truly wanted to do. I told her that it is easy to say “I want to be this,” or “I want to do that.” But no matter what we want to be or do, we have to invest our time and energy into it. Flitting about from thing to thing without any real commitment doesn’t do us any good.

And there is truth to that. We can easily become a “Jack of all trades” and just as easily remain a master of none. The fact is, if we are going to be successful in anything, we absolutely have to devote ourselves to whatever it is and go for it at full throttle. As a parent, I want my daughter to be a person of commitment, one who sees things through to the end.

With that said, in my frustration I also failed to recognize something. How can we ever discover who we are called to be, and/or what we are called to do, if we never start somewhere and keep trying. My daughter had done nothing more than what any kid does in an attempt to find something that they love to do…something that aids them in their quest to discover their potential as well as their very identity.

Hasn’t God done the same for us? Which one of us starts in this world with a clear picture of who they are called to be? If I we are to be honest, none of us can claim that. Our identity and our purpose both take time to develop. And, even when we do come to an realization of who we are called to be and what we are called to do, there is often a world of other things that complicate our discernment process and diminish our clarity.

Yet God, had given us the room to live, to learn and to discover. Each breath we take is another opportunity that we’ve been give to discover just who it is we are being called to be, and what it is we are being called to do. Not everyone is called to be a pastor, not everyone is called to be a nurse, not everyone is called to be a cheerleader, but each of us are called to serve God and represent God’s loving presence in all that we do.

Eventually, my wife and I chose to invest more money in our daughter toward gymnastics who, in one year’s time, has gone from someone who has never been a cheerleader to someone who made the JV cheerleading team. All because, my wife and I decided to invest in her and give her the room to live, to learn and to grow. God does the same for us. God loves us, invests in us, and gives us the room to discover who we are, and what we are called to do. To God, everyone is worth the investment and, truth be told, we are being called to invest in others just as God invests in us. Everyone is worth the investment no matter what we are being called to invest in the lives of theirs.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.” – Oprah Winfrey

PRAYER

Lord, thank you for giving me room to live, learn and grow. Continually guide me to my purpose and give me the patience to make such room for others as I help in guiding them to theirs. Amen.

Jesus Is For Real

Read Matthew 13:23-58

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
But [Jesus] said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)

heaven-is-for-realThis past Thursday, my wife, children and I went to the theater to see yet another faith-based film. It seems that 2014 is the year of faith-based films and, so long as they keep making them, my family and I will keep supporting them. The one we just saw was a film entitled, “Heaven Is For Real”, which is based on the bestselling book of the same name. The film chronicles a Wesleyan pastor, Rev. Todd Burpo, and his family through a tumultuous time.

According to the story, Todd’s son Colton ended up getting sick on a family trip to Denver. After bringing him home, his condition did not improve but got worse. It turned out that his appendix had ruptured and, close to death, Colton needed emergency surgery. During that surgery, he left his body and was able to see both his parents who were in separate places: his mom on the phone with family and his dad, who was in the chapel angrily praying and yelling at God.

Beyond that experience, Colton also experienced going to heaven where he met angels who sang to him and Jesus who came to him on a horse of many colors. Everyone in heaven, according to Colton, were young. While there he met his great-grandfather who he had never met in life, and he also met his unborn, older sister. At four years old, his son had never known his mom had a miscarriage and, to his mother’s surprise, he was suddenly aware that he had another “sister” who lived in heaven.

While the story is very moving, it is easy for us to get skeptical of such books and such accounts. Theologically speaking, when Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven was he really referring to another place where he would be riding a rainbow colored horse? Was he referring to a place where we all look like we did when we were in our early twenties? Some have criticized the book for presenting an “extra-Biblical” picture of what heaven is. From a scientific perspective, how do we know that Colton wasn’t just imagining Jesus out of things he had seen and/or heard at home or at church. His father, after all, is the pastor of a Wesleyan Church. Secular critics have criticized the book for it’s lack of “reason.”

I must confess that I have never read the book, but when watching the film the details of the boy’s personal experiences of heaven became secondary to the overall point of the film. Pastor Burpo, in one scene, stands before his congregation asks, “If we truly believed that heaven is for real, how differently would be be living our lives?” That is a profoundly good and important question to ask. If we truly believe in heaven, if we truly see that heaven is FOR REAL, if we truly understood that heaven can be brought here on earth and that we are called to be a part of ushering it in, we will be living our lives differently.

I believe that the personal and, by nature, subjective experiences of a four year old boy cannot be proven or disproven. To be skeptical and critical of the fine details of his experience is to miss the bigger point that not only is heaven for real, but THE RISEN JESUS IS FOR REAL and he is calling to us in different ways. For some it is in a near death experience, for others it is in a Scripture verse we accidentally stumble upon. Still others witness the risen Christ in a person they are helping or in someone who is helping them. There are some who have visions and dreams that lead them to the RISEN CHRIST who is calling them into a deeper commitment. No matter how Christ is experienced…the fact remains that HE IS EXPERIENCED and he is calling us to be agents of his kingdom…the very real Kingdom of Heaven…so that the world may come to be as God first intended it to be: A WORLD OF TRUE LIFE AND LASTING PEACE. Experience that Jesus is for real, that heaven is for real, and that your call, no matter what it is or where it leads you, is for real.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 18:3, NRSV).

PRAYER
Lord, open my eyes that I may see and experience you. Change my heart that I may eagerly follow you. Amen.